Parliament Reveals Stunning Bulgarian 'Innovation' ProjectsBulgaria in EU | April 4, 2014, Friday // 13:10| views
Deputy Prime Minister Zinaida Zlatanova has hinted at conspiracy over reports of EU funding mismanagement. Photo by EPA/BGNES.
Bulgaria has allocated more BGN 176 M to 223 companies for projects involving "innovative napkins", creative furniture" or "innovative focus groups".
At a sitting in the parliamentary committee dealing with EU funds, it was found out that EUR 88 M given to Bulgaria under the EU's Competitiveness Operational Program had been assigned to a range of disputable "innovation" enterprises, Mediapool.bg agency has reported.
Deputy Economy Minister, who was heard by members of the committee, cited many other projects than won EU money including some involving "creative hotel door-locks" and "new kind of sweeties". Subsidies per project could total from BGN 170 000 to BGN 2 M.
Conditions to apply for EU funding include the development of new products and not the improvement of existing one.
Former and acting MPS from the ruling socialists and their partners from the Movement for Rights and Freedoms, as well as from opposition party GERB, are behind some of the initiatives, with some of their project receiving "double" funding with the use of legal loopholes.
Most descriptions of projects that received funding sound rather vague, like "The incorporation of a system for simultaneous research and analysis of focus groups" which was granted BGN 187 200 despite its ill-specified goals.
On Thursday the European Parliament issued a recommendation to the European Commission, suggesting EU funds allocation to Bulgaria might be stopped due to mismanagement.
Bulgaria's Deputy Prime Minister Zinaida Zlatanova however hinted Friday that the EP report has been drafted "with Bulgarian participation", thus suggesting a conspiracy against the government.
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